June 13, 2017
Contact: Francis Dietz, Vice President, Public Affairs
Arlington, Va. —
The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Technology Institute (AHRTI), the research arm of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), today released the first research report as part of its ongoing testing of flammable refrigerants, many of which were identified as possible replacements to high global warming-potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbons that will be phased down under the Montreal Protocol. The research and testing program is part of a $5.2 million commitment on the part of AHRI, ASHRAE, U.S. Department of Energy, and the California Air Resources Board to further test in real-world settings low-GWP, but mildly flammable or flammable, refrigerants.
"The ongoing global effort to phase down the use of high-GWP potential refrigerants requires this vital research, which will help us update relevant codes and standards so that appropriate, climate-friendly alternatives can be safely used in air conditioning and refrigeration equipment," said Karim Amrane, AHRI's Senior Vice President, Regulatory & Research.
The report, Benchmarking Risk by Whole Room Scale Leaks and Ignitions Testing of A2L Refrigerants, was developed following testing at UL, which began in June 2016. The objective was to conduct refrigerant leak and ignition testing under real-world conditions to develop data and insight into the risk associated with the use of A2L refrigerants, which are mildly-flammable, but have a low-GWP. Room scale tests were performed for commercial and residential scenarios, including a packaged terminal air conditioner in a motel room, a rooftop unit in a commercial kitchen, a walk-in cooler, a reach-in refrigerator in a convenience store, a split HVAC unit in a utility closet and with servicing error, and a split HVAC unit with hermetic electrical pass-through terminal failure. A copy of the report is available here.
“The testing was designed to create relatively low-probability events to evaluate if the ignition spread or had the potential to spread if ignition took place," said Amrane. "This means that more refrigerant was leaked into the space during these tests than what is proposed by the standard. In other words, a worst case scenario.”
Further testing is planned as part of this effort and results will be released when they are available.
The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is the trade association representing manufacturers of air conditioning, heating, and commercial refrigeration, and water heating equipment. An internationally recognized advocate for the industry, AHRI develops standards for and certifies the performance of many of these products. AHRI's 300+ member companies manufacture quality, efficient, and innovative residential and commercial air conditioning, space heating, water heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment and components for sale in North America and around the world.
The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Institute, Inc. (AHRTI) is a not-for-profit organization to conduct scientific research in the public interest. AHRTI is collocated with AHRI in Arlington, Virginia. Its operations are supported by AHRI staff under the general oversight of the AHRTI Board of Directors and the technical guidance of the AHRTI Steering Committee comprised of the AHRI Research and Technology Committee and representatives from other funding entities. AHRTI research is pre-competitive, basic research to provide HVACR manufacturers the scientific knowledge and design tools needed for their development of the next generation of energy efficient, environmentally friendly HVACR equipment.